Photo of someone hiking on a muddy trail.

Spring, a time of rebirth and renewal for nature…and mud, lots of mud. Spring hiking in Colorado can be beautiful and messy with warm days and cold nights creating wet and sometimes icy conditions on trails across the state. But, with some pre-trip research, the proper gear and a bit of good luck, spring hikes in Boulder County can be some of the best of the year.

Consider the following as you look to get outdoors in the coming months:

Dress and pack for all occasions

  • Welcome to mud season! You’re sure to come across many mucky spots on the trail, so plan to wear shoes that fit well, have good tread and you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Check trail conditions and closures for Boulder County before heading out. Inching across ice fields is never fun. Pack crampons or microspikes to ensure you can safely navigate the slippery slopes you may encounter.
  • Dress for success! Be prepared for all weather and microclimates during your trip. Layers are your best friend when spring hiking as it might snow, rain or be a bluebird day all within a matter of hours.
  • Don’t forget the essentials! Sunscreen (SPF 30+), ample water (0.5 L for every hour of hiking), calorie-dense foods and a first aid kit are all must-haves.

Leave no trace

  • Stay on the trail! Stepping off can damage or kill certain plant species, and can hurt the ecosystems that surround the trail especially in spring when growth is abundant.
  • Dispose of waste properly - this includes food, trash and animal waste. Anything you bring in should be brought back out with you. It may be helpful to pack something that can be used as a temporary trash bag. 

Don’t go it alone

  • Hiking is better enjoyed in the company of others especially when conditions are unpredictable and extreme weather and accidents can happen. Consider inviting a friend on your next hike.  
  • If you decide to go it alone, be sure to let someone know where you’ll be going and the approximate time of your return.
  • Outdoor Pursuits can help if you’d like to hike but don’t have a group to go with. Check out their schedule of upcoming group day and overnight trips.

Let Outdoor Pursuits help you!

Whether you’re a first-timer or about to bag your last 14’er, Outdoor Pursuits and the Adventure Resource Center can help! Plan your next adventure with them and get help with everything from route recommendations and menu planning to equipment rentals and pre-arranged trips. Stop by their office on the first floor of the Rec Center or give them a call at 303-492-6080.


Hikes near Boulder

Looking for a hike nearby? Here are a few spots to check out:

Chapman-Tenderfoot Loop

  • Distance: 2.5 mile loop
  • Elevation gain: 521 ft
  • Level: Easy to moderate

Doudy Draw and Spring Brook Loop Trail

  • Distance: 5 mile loop
  • Elevation gain: 587 ft
  • Level: Moderate

Bear Peak via NCAR

  • Distance: 6.2 miles mile out and back
  • Elevation gain: 2,811 ft
  • Level: Difficult

Additional resources

Boulder County’s Open Space Parks & Trails

Find a complete list of trails and open space properties in Boulder County including information on if dogs or bikes are allowed on the trail.

Outdoor Pursuits Hiking & Backpacking Trips

Outdoor Pursuits offers a wide variety of hiking and backpacking courses. Take advantage of these great trips that will prepare you for your own hikes and adventures around Colorado. Early registration is recommended due to limited spots. 

Outdoor Equipment Rentals

Exploring the outdoors shouldn't be limited to those who own the best equipment. Outdoor Pursuits offers a plethora of rental equipment for camping, backpacking, climbing or winter activities.

Adventure Resource Center

Plan your next adventure with the assistance of the Adventure Resource Center (ARC). The resource center is a welcoming space where you can plan a trip or hang out in the space while thumbing through our vast library of guide books.

Wilderness Workshops

Take advantage of Outdoor Pursuits workshops to enhance your outdoor skills such as wilderness survival, backcountry cooking, navigation and native plant identification.

Wilderness Medicine

The Wilderness First Responder class and certification provides you with the tools to make critical medical and evacuation decisions in remote settings and may be valuable should you choose to embark on a backcountry adventure this spring.